UAE | General

Hate messages in UAE mosque toilets

Racist comments, vulgar drawings, messages supporting terrorism deface mosque washrooms

  • By Faisal Masudi, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 March 15, 2012
  • XPRESS

A mosque in Bur Dubai
  • Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/XPRESS
  • This Bur Dubai mosque was among the many places of worship where offensive graffiti was found scribbled on toilet walls.
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Dubai: Mosque washrooms in Dubai and Sharjah are being defaced by racist slurs, vulgar remarks and hate messages, a random XPRESS survey revealed.

The offensive posts — mostly too graphic to be shown or talked about here — were found scribbled behind toilet doors in restrooms attached to mosques.

XPRESS visited several restrooms at mosques in Dubai, including those in Deira, Bur Dubai, Karama, Mankhool, Satwa and Al Safa, and also mosques in Rolla and Abu Shagara in Sharjah. On an average, only four out of around 15 were found to be completely graffiti-free.

Vandals have attacked nationalities, political parties, religious groups and even glorified terrorism. Some notes, jotted down with permanent markers and ball pens, also promote gay sex and fornication in the UAE. Some of them were random curse words featuring sexually-explicit drawings.

Hurtful graffiti

"Long live Al Qaida!" one slogan read. In a restroom of a mosque in Karam a message in Hindi sought mobile numbers of those interested in joining the organisation.

In Sharjah's Abu Shagara neighbourhood, a mosque washroom message praised late Al Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden, claiming that he is still alive and well.

Another post in the same place claimed his recent killing was Western propaganda because Bin Laden "died in 2006".

Disgruntled elements also attacked the UAE, with one writing in Urdu at a mosque bathroom in Dubai's Mankhool district: "The UAE is the source of all problems in your life, why would you come to such a horrible place?"

Some examples of "for Muslims only" notices were also spotted in toilet facilities within mosque compounds in both cities. Some also bear initials of Hindu-centric groups like the RSS and BJP. A couple of posts, supposedly by Indians and Pakistanis, have also told each other to "get out".

Behind a toilet door in a mosque complex near Spinney's roundabout in Sharjah, one person requested "gay boys sms me", while another suggested expletives with "Bengali girls" because they have "big hip".

Some are calling for an end to the graffiti — by also scribbling it down. "Don't write abuse," one plea said. "Don't writing [sic] here, we are good community," another one requested.

It is not clear what action is being taken against the practice as many quotes date back several years. However, an official of the government body that oversees Dubai mosques — Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities (IACAD) — said legal action will be taken.

Hassan Al Hashmi, head of mosque services section at IACAD, said: "We are sending our inspectors frequently to check mosque facilities and re-maintain them. "We urge the public not to vandalise mosques and show respect to all faiths. We plan to launch awareness campaigns on this issue, through sermons, posters, and publications."

He added: "Also, we plan to inform imams of all mosques in Dubai under IACAD supervision to be vigilant regarding vandalism attempts. Legal action will be taken against those found committing vandalism at mosques.

"It appears it is mostly anti-social elements from the youth who are behind this illegal practice.

"Mosques are there for you to come and purify your sins, not for earning more sins by violating its sanctity. If someone is keen to write, they can seek proper channels for that — washrooms or public property is not the place for that."

Furqan, a Bengali mosque assistant in Sharjah's Rolla district, said "Cleaners sometimes give up because the messages keep reappearing. It's a rotten habit."

Mohammad Rasoul Hashmi, an imam (prayer leader) in Sharjah, added: "I urge people to stop sinning and show respect. The mosque is a holy place for prayer, not for writing graffiti."

Graffiti on public property is banned by federal law and punishable by imprisonment and a fine.

Comments (23)

Share your views
  1. Added 12:25 March 15, 2012

    Graffiti on public property is punishable by a prison term or fine. There should actually be a rule that states that Graffiti in a place of Worship (no matter what religion it may be), be punishable by a much harsher prison term (forget fining people for it).

    FJ, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 12:11 March 15, 2012

    What they are trying to prove by writing such messages on toilet walls? Such a sick and disgusting mentality!

    Moin, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 11:27 March 15, 2012

    I think such kind of comments need not to be highlighted. There are people with crazy minds everywhere. Posting these comments on paper means there is some kind of advantage being taken from such comments.

    Umer, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 11:26 March 15, 2012

    I strongly condemn this type of vulgar acts in mosques. People should behave properly in the mosques. I respectfully advice the concerned authorities to use a special kind of paint (like toilet doors in DM library at Deira Creek) to avoid any kind of writing or vandalism. Anyone attempting to write or violate the rules should be strictly punished. An avid lover of the UAE

    Syed Ashraf Ali, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 10:48 March 15, 2012

    It's really sad to see Masjid's restrooms being used like this. It seems that the youth of the UAE isn't recieving proper guidance or else they wouldn't be seeking attention and "fame" by defacing a place attatched to the house of God. Worldwide influences on the coolness of grafiti are also brainwashing people that this is OK. It seems before and after prayer people's minds are far from being holy. Perhaps if they put up good posters or advertisements in the places instead it would cut down on this tendancy. May God guide them and may the government quickly remove this filth.

    Brandy Aminah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 10:27 March 15, 2012

    People should respect a place of worship. Whoever is doing such kinds of things and putting bad remarks in mosque toilets should be punished and banned if caught. Mosque management should put a notice board near the mosque toilets for awareness on not doing any such things. This will definitely work and people will think before doing such things. it will come to the notice of all and people won't misuse the place. So mosque management should put alert messages near the mosque toilets to stop this immediately.

    LODHI AZMATULLAH, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 10:20 March 15, 2012

    My sincere feeling is that this report should not have been published because it is portraying the UAE and muslims in particular in bad light. People can misuse this to tarnish our image. Please remove this.

    Riyaz, DUbai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 09:55 March 15, 2012

    This is disrespect towards a place of worship and it is recorded as a bad deed. You all are brothers so better be it. Do not humiliate each other, Islam dose not teach you to do this. Whoever has done this should seek repentance and shall never do this again.

    rashed, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 09:41 March 15, 2012

    How pathetic...How can people be so mean? I strongly support the fact thatthese people should be immediately traced and punished. There's no point in explaining to them the importance of holy places...either punish them or declare them INSANE...

    Rachel, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 09:33 March 15, 2012

    Some people are so stupid and idiotic that they ignore where they are. God knows what good they are getting by doing this dirty things in mosques!! If a non-muslim is doing so, we can think he has done out of hatred and racism. But our muslim brothers should atleast understand that doing things like these is defaming their own community. I request our muslim brothers to avoid doing such things in mosques and other places too.

    Abdul Sami, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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